Final scores can be classified as misinformation on occasion, and that was the case with Scott County's 83-66 victory over host Paul Dunbar in boys' basketball Tuesday night.
The disheveled appearance of Scott County Coach Billy Hicks — loosened tie, sweaty brow and a look of exhausted relief — said it all.
Forget the 17-point final margin, this was anything but an easy ninth win in a row for the second-ranked Cardinals.
Scott County was clinging to a 50-48 lead in the closing seconds of the third quarter before it began an 11-0 run that gave the visitors some breathing room.
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"Give Dunbar a lot of credit," Hicks said. "It was hard to guard them, and it was hard to make plays against them."
But in the end, Scott County had too many guys who did make plays on both ends of the court.
"They've got five Division I players on the floor," Dunbar Coach Carl "Redd" Hutchinson said. "If you don't come out and play good defense, this is the end result you'll get."
"We did what we had to do to have a chance through three quarters, but we have to do it for 32 minutes against a good team like that."
Scott County, which trailed 33-31 at halftime, turned its defense up a notch in the last 10 minutes.
The Cards' knockout punch — that 11-0 blitz — was keyed by swarming pressure that forced three consecutive Dunbar turnovers.
"We weren't playing our game in the first half," Scott County junior Ge-Lawn Guyn said. "We played harder in the second half and got our defense going."
Dunbar's big guys — 6-foot-7 senior Tyler Rogers and 6-7 junior Bryce With — helped to negate Scott County's 6-8 senior, Richie Phares, in the first half. But Phares broke loose for 17 of his team-high 21 points in the second half. He also had nine rebounds.
Guyn was the Cards' most consistent scorer. The 6-3 junior finished with 20 points.
Dakotah Euton, a 6-8 junior who has committed to Kentucky, had a rough shooting night (5-for-18), but he hit a couple of clutch threes. One of them closed the third quarter to give Scott County a five-point lead.
After Dunbar pulled to within 63-55 midway through the fourth quarter, Euton dropped in another bomb.
The Cards' lead was never less than 11 after that.
Euton wound up with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Junior point guard Chad Jackson added 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Dunbar got a monster game from Rogers — 28 points and 15 rebounds.
"I'd seen Dunbar play three times before, but this was the best and the toughest I've seen (Rogers) play," Hicks said.
Nick Hudson had 15 points for Dunbar, but missed some crucial minutes in the second half with four fouls.
With added 14 points.
"I'm encouraged and discouraged at the same time," Hutchinson said.
"I loved our effort, and I loved our attitude.
"But at the end, defensively we missed a lot of assignments, and when you do that this is the end result you get."
Scott county 83, Paul dunbar 66
SCOTT COUNTY (13-3) — Guyn 7-10 6-10 20, Phares 8-12 5-7 21, Jackson 5-11 3-4 13, Euton 5-18 1-1 14, Manning 3-6 1-1 7, Flannery 1-1 0-0 3, Ford 2-5 1-2 5, Ivey 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 31-65 17-25 83.
PAUL DUNBAR (10-4) — Hudson 5-15 4-5 15, With 6-8 2-3 14, Rogers 12-24 3-5 28, Waldrop 0-1 0-0 0, Lanter 2-10 0-0 5, Johnson 2-7 0-0 4. Clay 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 27-70 9-13 66.
Scott County 16 15 22 30—83
Paul Dunbar 16 17 15 18—66